Crusaders steal one-point win over Chiefs
April 19, 2014
The Chiefs were unable to score any points in the second half
© Getty Images
The boot of Colin Slade has carried the Crusaders to an 18-17 upset win over defending champions the Chiefs in a tough Super Rugby clash in Hamilton. Slade slotted six penalty goals at Waikato Stadium as the visitors avenged their narrow defeat to the Chiefs in Christchurch in February.
The result lifted the Crusaders into the competition's top six and put them second in the New Zealand conference behind the Chiefs. Both sides showed plenty of resilient defence in a tough arm-wrestle in conditions made greasy by some heavy rain.
The Crusaders produced a particularly impressive passage early in the second half, when they withstood 26 successive phases, including numerous dabs at their goal-line, before forcing a knock-on. That brought the reward at the other end of Slade's fourth penalty goal to close the margin to 17-12.
Slade's next two penalty attempts each hit a post, but he nailed the two after to put his team back in front with nine minutes to go. The Chiefs came back with a spirited finish and five-eighth Gareth Anscombe had the chance to snatch victory after the hooter, but his penalty shot from inside his own half fell just short.
Kerr-Barlow came back on, only to be replaced at half-time, while Squire and Read stayed off. Squire was left groggy in the 28th minute by the shoulder of opposition lock Dominic Bird, who was yellow-carded for a no-arm tackle.
All Blacks No.8 Read was then hit in heavy contact, with Kerr-Barlow among the tacklers, while making a typically strong run with the ball. The departures and the yellow card led to a momentum shift as the Chiefs went from 9-3 down to take the lead 12-9 off Anscombe's boot. They then had fullback Tom Marshall dot down in the corner just before halftime to open out an eight-point advantage.
The Crusaders' Dominic Bird has been cited for a dangerous tackle on the Chiefs' Liam Squire, while the Chiefs' Michael Fitzgerald will appear before the judiciary for an alleged dangerous tackle on Kieran Reid.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September